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Avalanche 4, Bruins 2

Avalanche turn back Bruins

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, last year’s Hobey Baker Award winner from UMass, reaches out to control the puck as Bruins center David Krejci defends.David Zalubowski/Associated Press/Associated Press

DENVER -- In a high-flying, high-entertainment game in this altitudinous city, the Bruins lost, 4-2, to the Avalanche Thursday night.

Andre Burakovsky scored the go-ahead goal with 7:06 left, leaving the Bruins with a sour taste at the end of this four-game road trip. They believed they deserved better, after having two goals disallowed.

Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves in a battle with Philipp Grubauer (39 saves). He left the net with 1:40 remaining, but Gabriel Landeskog cashed an empty-netter with 1:01 left.

The Bruins (3-1-0) host the Devils on Saturday at newly chilled TD Garden which is being kept extra-cold after last year’s player complaints about the ice sheet’s condition.


■  The Bruins made a couple mistakes on the Burakovsky goal. Jake DeBrusk, who had a tough night from a luck standpoint, had a chance to stop Burakovsky coming out of the zone, but couldn’t. Connor Clifton had a good gap on the Swedish winger as he entered the zone, but lost his footing. Burakovsky curled to the middle and sniped one, before David Krejci could hit him.

“Almost none,” Halak said of his view of the eventual winner. “Too bad. We had chances. We didn’t score. We have to put this behind us as quick as possible.”

■  When was the last time a team had two disallowed goals in a game?

It’s unclear. An NHL official said the league does not keep track of that stat. Three experienced Bruins polled by this reporter — Bruce Cassidy, Halak, and Krejci — did not know.

The Bruins, who had a would-be 3-1 strike by Karson Kuhlman wiped out for goaltender interference early in the second period, opened the third with another no-go-ahead goal. DeBrusk roofed a shot on the power play, but Colorado successfully argued that David Pastrnak entered the zone a hair offside. A bit of karma, the Avalanche probably felt, since their season ended on a controversial, late, offside call in the playoffs.


At that point, the Bruins had scored four goals, but only two of them counted.

“We could have had eight,” Krejci said of his team’s snakebitten state.

■  Save of the game: Erik Johnson fumbled the puck at the blue line, leading to a 2 on 1. Pastrnak fed Brad Marchand, but Grubauer came up with a glove save to keep it tied at 2. Marchand hit the post moments later.

■  The Bruins, who had a chance to go to 4-0-0, have not opened with four straight wins since 1990-91.

■  The Bruins’ stars started hot, helping build a 2-0 lead, but gave it back in a game that was tied, 2-2, after 40 minutes. Pastrnak scored his second goal of the season from Marchand at 7:58 of the first. Marchand stripped Nikita Zadorov behind the net and fed Pastrnak, who smashed a one-timer from in front. Patrice Bergeron looked like his usual self, taking expert routes all over the ice and making savvy plays.

The opening goal wouldn’t have happened without Krejci, who found himself out with those two. He took it hard to the net, making an extra move to force netminder Grubauer to make a save. Not easy to get to the paint in this league.

■  But some big names were involved in a major swing of the game. After a Zdeno Chara goal made it 2-0, and Nathan MacKinnon answered with a power-play putback, Bruins rookie Karson Kuhlman would have made it 3-1 just 1:10 into the second period. The goal was disallowed for goaltender interference. Less than three minutes later, the Avalanche’s fourth line struck against the Bruins’ best. Marchand turned it over on the breakout, and Matt Calvert saw Pierre-Edouard Bellemare sneaking past Chara in front. A slick pass through Charlie McAvoy and Chara, and a tap-in tied the game.


■   In the first period, the Avalanche’s top line didn’t hold the puck long against the Bergeron line, preferring to make that matchup into a track meet. They did establish themselves against the Sean Kuraly line, but only for a limited time. The game plan for Kuraly and Co. was to hit. Kuraly blasted Mikko Rantanen twice on one first-period shift. Avalanche defenseman Zadorov asked if he wanted some, but Kuraly declined. Wagner escaped a penalty moments later by dropping Rantanen away from the play.

■  The Avalanche’s top trio needed the man-advantage to score, and they did it with their trademark speed. After a too many men on the ice call on Boston, Landeskog split Bergeron and Brandon Carlo off the rush, rang the pipe behind Halak, and MacKinnon cleaned up a rebound that caromed off Halak’s back. That made it 2-1 with 54 seconds left in the first.

■   DeBrusk, still hunting for his first of the season, had a 2-on-1 with Pastrnak late in the second, with the game tied. He got off a good rip, but Grubauer made a shoulder save. DeBrusk was slow to get up late in the second, after Zadorov pummeled him in the corner. The Bruins entered the third with a fresh sheet of ice and 1:42 left on the power play.


“You get production, finally, and it gets taken away from you twice,” said DeBrusk, who was tense in his postgame interview. “You almost can’t believe it. . . . It’s pissing me off for sure.”

■  The goaltender interference on the first goal was called on Krejci, who had a gripe with officials. Creating traffic in front for Kuhlman’s shot, his stick made contact with Grubauer and he had his leg in the crease. It wasn’t much to alter the keeper’s ability to play the puck.

“There is no consistency on these goals,” Halak said. “We saw it so many times last year.”

It also nullified a sneaky shot, low and off the post through traffic, from Kuhlman. It would have been his first goal of the year. He also showed his considerable speed, beating out an icing in the first period.

■  Nice moment for Chara, who scored his first of the season on a blast from the point, at 15:34 of the first. His shot ramped up off Landeskog’s stick in front. Chara tore his MCL during the Bruins’ previous visit here, last Nov. 14, when his knee buckled during an innocent looking hit by ex-Bruin Carl Soderberg.


■  Joakim Nordstrom, debuting after missing camp with a foot injury, looked solid. He made a strong play on the penalty kill to tip a pass and get a clear. He also put a couple hard shots on net and looked mobile.

■  Official: Krejci is a “rap the stick on the backcheck, hoping the opposing team’s guy will drop it” kind of guy. He tried it in the first period against Joonas Donskoi, who didn’t take the bait. Krejci, who battled a preseason knee injury, said he felt his best yet Thursday. He was not credited with a hit, but he was physical.

■  The Avalanche held a unique promotion: Grateful Dead Night. Fans could buy a package that included a tie-dye Avalanche jersey (although it was in team colors, not a rainbow). Fans seemed to have a good time with it, dancing to a cover band at intermission. Unfortunately for Boston, the road trip ended with a touch of grey.

Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports